also available from Spectacular Times:
No. 7 - Women & the Spectacle (by Carol Ehrlich)
No. 8 - The Spectacle - A Skeleton Key 40p
No. 9 - The Spectacle - Another Skeleton Key.40p
All prices are post free from Spectacular Times,
Box 99, Freedom Press, 84b, Whitechapel High
Street, London, El 7QX. or from most radical
bookshops in the U.K.
In Australia : Jura Books, 417, King Street,
Newtown, NSW 2042.
In Norway : A/S Jaap, Hjelmsgt ,3 , Oslo, 3.
In the Netherlands : Boekhandel Slagerzicht,
Folkingestraat 10, 9711 JW Groningen.
A Short Anthology of Political Pranks
and Anarchic Buffoonery
The teen magazine,
Loving ran a
which included a
special offer of
a song called
"Cur Wedding" by
a group called
"Joy de Vivre"©
readers played the
record they found
it to be a track
from an album by
the anarchist punk
the album as a
on love and
The News of the
World said the
title was "too
obscene to print" o
v r\C\ •
\ pours- for the price of a stamp!
Yes. folks, we've got together with Creative
Recording and Sound Services to offer you
the chance of making your wedding day
lust that bit extra special, with th s roman
tic song. Our Wedding, by Joy De Vivre.
There's no limit to this great write in. so
all you have to do is simply fill in the
coupon below and send it off. together
with stamps to the value of 18 pence and
this super flexi single will be yours
Joy De Vivre has captured all the hap-
piness and romance of that all important
big day your wedding - so make sure
you send off fur your copy in time for the
grand occasion - it's a must for all true
Women's Voice. Jul/Aug.1981
Posters for George Wallace, the ultra-right wing
candidate in the U.S. Presidential elections, carried
the words "In your heart you know he's right".
The most common graffiti addition in the convenient
space below these words was "But in your guts you
know he's nuts".
NO POPE HERE
The big freeze is turning to !
aurl end. A stow thaw is j
expected to gain momentum !
in the next few days and
temperatures wUI otimli to 7C I
over the weekend.
Up and Ap
RAF sea rch-and -rescue Reli-
r opters have flown 187 merry
missions since the blizzards and
fn e/.c up began.
The (internment announced
\ e-tei'd-iy it would give a
i t.xi.ddo grant to the NSIVC
user the next three > ears —
to save children's lives.
The Uoverninewt yesterday
Mocked takeover bids for the
Royal Bank of Scotland by both
the Hongkong and. Shanghai
Ranking Corporation and the
Standard Chartered Bank.
Plane ‘iced up’
A saw ice enisled on
the airliner which cradled in
Washington on Wednesday
killing 78 people a U.S.
investigator said yesterday.
Britain's annual inflation rate
remained at 12 per cent in
December, the same as Novem-
ber. according to the Retail
Mis Marie Tyler, of Sul I on
( oldfield. who lost a gold ring
six weeks ago, believes that
one of the birds she feeds
found it and put it on her
back gar icn bird table.
\V inkers walked out on strike
when Mrs Thatcher visited
Kellogg s giant breakfast
cereal plant at Trafford Park,
Two high-rolling gamblers
from vas Vegas were thought
to l>e on their way to London
after winning £20.000 at
roulette in a Northampton
Page one of the January 16th issue of
the Northern Echo (left) contained a
message for the newspaper's new
editor, Mr. John Pifer.
Can you spot the hidden message?
(below) For the professional touch -
'Letraset' direct on to posters.
KEEP BRITON T1W
"The most effective way of attacking vice js
to expose it to ridicule. People can put up
with rebukes but they cannot bear being
laughed at; they are prepared to be wicked
but they dislike appearing ridiculous”
Simple Simon meets the Pieman
Aron Kay of the Yippies - pieman extraordinary of North
America - has a long list of ’hits* to his credit including
William F.Buckley, Daniel Moynihan and Watergate 'buggers’
Anthony Llacewicz, E. Howard Hunt ana Cordon Liddy. The
anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly responded, "At least he had the
good taste to use apple instead of something that would have
stained my outfit."
Aron's protege on the west coast is Vancouver-based Frankie
Lee of the Anarchist Party of Canada ( Grouch o-Marxist ) • His
'hits' include the Canadian cabinet minister Marc Lalonde and
brain experimenter Jose Delgado. Frankie specializes in
personalized pies. He hit Delgado with a cow brain and tomato
sauce concoction. Delgado asked, "Why me?".
For his hit on revolutionist-turned-
religionist Eldridge Cleaver
(right) Frankie used an
oreo cookie cream pie and
explained "Because oreo
cookies are black on the !
outside and white on the
inside, just like Eldridge j
Cleaver". Frankie struck j
as Cleaver was addressing
an audience of 1 , bOC at a
'born - again' Christian
"I Found It" rally in
Vancouver. Some of
friends caught Frankie in
the car park and beat him
Religionists seem prone
to violent reactions.
Curu Kaharaji Ji was
pied by Pat Halley -
a staff member of the
Detroit anarchist news-
paper Fifth Estate . While
the guru continued with
his message of peace and
love, Pat was severely
beaten by the guru's
followers and suffered a
fractured skull. Eldridge finds it
Other victims react by trying to re-write history. When the
"Revolutionary Three Stooges Brigade" pied Donald Speyer of
the Dayton Power and Light Company (I’Since DP&L are always
trying to get a bigger slice of the pie, we thought we*d give
them a whole one") he claimed he had never been pied.
"Apparently", said the Brigade, "he always goes around with
gooey globs splattered all over his face."
When Roy Rogers was opening a new branch of his Roy Rogers
Hamburger restaurant chain in Fairfax, Virginia, an unknown
young man succeeded where thousands of bad guys in dozens of
movies had failed before - he hit the 'King of the Cowboys'
right between the eyes with a cream flan.
And don’t forget the gay
enthusiast in Minneapolis —
their slogan is Kisses and
Revolution — who got his hair
cut at Moler’s barber college,
fortified himself with a
couple of Burger King whop-
1 pers (in case they didn’t feed
f him anything in jail), showed
up at a $75-a-plate dinner for
a local anti-gay Catholic ar-
chbishop, had himself photo-
graphed shaking hands with
his quarry (we who are about
to pie, salute you) and then
achieved communion with
the host — not with a wafer of
unleavened bread, but with a
69C chocolate cream pie from
a local bakery.
Gay rights activists
have also felt the
need to resort to
the pie. (left)
Tom Higgins struck
with a cream pie
when anti-gay cam-
paigner Anita Bryant
(right) called a
press conference in
Des Moines, Iowa
to announce the
creation of her
Although the Van-
Anita Bryant gets her
and Entertainment group has declared November 4th-1 1 th as
International Week of Pieing the practice has not become
widespread in Europe. In 1979 Conservative K.P. Michael
Heseltine was splattered as he finished a speech at Leeds
University. David Frost, however, had to go to New York to
get his pie.
Reports & Photos
from "Open Road"
1 977 - 1980
"Spectacular organization is completely out of
its depth with this sort of thing. The Marx
Brothers have shown what a role can become if
you play with it. The only pity is that the
Marx Brothers were stuck with the cinema.
What would happen if a game with roles started
in real life?"
It’s my party and I’ll snub who I want to...
On the 21st March, 1968 the New York Yippies organised a
party for 5»000 people. The venue for the party was
announced as New York City's Grand Central Station.
June, 1973 s As a sign of the 'truce' prevailing for the
Camden Neighbourhood Festival a tug-of-war was organised
between a team of Squatters and a team of Policemen. The
Squatters were disqualified and victory was awarded to the
Police because when the Squatters started losing ground,
spectators broke through the sidelines and pulled with the
October, 1972: A thirty-man British Army recruiting team set
up a display of "The Army at Work and Play" on the playing
field of Lochend School, Lochend Road, Sasterhouse, Glasgow
and the local youth showed great interest, turning up in
considerable numbers. A cookhouse erected to dispense
modern army food ("Forget what your Dad told you about Army
grubi") was soon smashed to matchwood. Soldiers enjoying
a peaceful cup of tea in one of the caravans were hurriedly
evacuated when flames, from the bonfire lit beneath it,
started to lick through the floor. When the other caravan
lost its windows the Army decided to pack up and leave.
Two Land-Rovers drove off, leaving their exhaust systems
behind: young saboteurs had tied their exhaust silencers
to nearby trees.
In the mid-seventies an organisation known as BESA (The
Berkshire Extremely Silly Association) publicised a number
of "Silly Events” to which the public were invited free
of charge* Those who turned up at the advertised time and
place would find themselves present at a tree planting or
similar municipal ceremony.
Stamps and Banknotes
The "friendly policeman” stamp
(right) was said to have been
withdrawn earlier than planned
because of the widespread practice
of adding captions to it. rime Out
magazine even ran a competition for
the best example. The winning
caption was "No, he can’t stay even
if you do marry him.” (One of the
children depicted in the stamp was
black.) Xtra’s favourite was
"No, I didn’t kill your daddy.”
In 1 981 "Friends of the Earth” produced a label - addressed
to 10, Downing Street - for people to stick on empty drink
cans. The labels carry a message to the Prime Minister on
the virtues of returnable containers.
"Friends of the Earth” estimate that a total of 5C,00C cans
have been sent in this way. However, in April 1981 "Friends
of the Earth” discovered that the Post Office were
intercepting the cans before delivery. When asked where the
cans were being held up the Post Office was unable to
answer on "security grounds”*
It is usual for bank staff to remove very worn or defaced
notes from circulation but in Chile it became a political
duty* This was due to the Chilean workers habit of writing
anti-government slogans on their banknotes* In 1973 the
problem reached epidemic proportions and the government
was withdrawing banknotes almost as fast as new ones could
In 1977 the big banks in Italy printed their own small
denomination notes in large quantities. Members of the
Italian Radical Party collected together 100,000 lires worth
of this ’unofficial’ money which they took to be changed at
the Credito Italiano bank in Milan*
The manager fell into the trap and refused to change the
notes into 'real' money, thus bearing out the Radicals’
claim that "The banks rob and the State is accomplice”,
and precipitating a near riot in which the regular customers
sided against the bank manager and forced him to comply with
the demands. The next target of the Radicals is to be a
catholic bank since, "The banks rob and the Church is
On the 24th August, 1968, Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman and ten
other Yippies entered the New York Stock Exchange and climbed
to the visitors gallery overlooking the main hall.
The Yippies addressed the brokers and traders working below
them on the evils of money and greed. Most of the brokers
found the incident amusing and at the end of the speech many
joined in good natured applause* Then the Yippies reached
into their pockets and threw into the air handfuls of dollar
bills. As money floated down like autumn leaves the scene
changed dramatically. Brokers and traders jumped, pushed and
buffeted each other to catch the falling banknotes, others
on hands and knees scrabbled about on the floor grabbing as
much as they could. The security guards arrived and the
Yippies were ejected from the building.
Do it ’
At Stock Exchange
The New York Stock Ex-
change last night installed bul-
| fletproof glass panels and a
metal grill work ceiling on its
visitors’ gailery for v/hat an
exchange spokesman said were
“reasons cf sccuritv.”
Work to enclose the 100-
foot-long gallery, which in
places hangs directly over the
desks and telephone booths of
clerks and brokers, began
^honly after the close of trad-
ing at 3:30 P.M. yesterday. The
job was expected to be com-
pleted before today’s 10 A M.
Last Aug. 24 a dozen or so
hippies threw dollar bills from
the gallery — a display man'
exchange members do not wan:
to se^ repeated.
T late a
Straight from the horse’s mouth.
Hugh Gaitskell was at the
1963 May Day demonstration
in Queen's Park, Glasgow to
address the Glasgow Labour
Movement on the theme of the
demonstration : "No to
Polaris!" Gaitskell was
known to be a supporter of
American bases on the Clyde
and as he worked his way
round to explaining the
necessity of such bases he
was interrupted by heckling
and cat-calls. He said his
critics were "secret members
of the Communist Party" and | I’LL cut everybody’s hands off. — Ayatollah
"tools of Russia" who should l Khomeini - —
all "go back to Moscow".
Finally he lost control and started to scream abuse at his
audience. Facing a crowd of thousands he shouted, "You're
nothing. You're just peanuts!" Only the police and stewards
saved him as hundreds rushed forward to storm the platform.
The Christie File
In 1975 Gianfranco Sanguinetti - sometime member of the
Situationist International and accomplice of Guy Debord -
created a scandal in Italy by publishing a fake anonymous
report claiming to be a leading member of the ruling class
and suggesting that the only way to save capitalism from
the wrath of the workers and others, was to work out a
common front with the Communist Party.
This ironic report was widely acclaimed and discussed in
the press, parliament and amongst leading business figures
until about nine months later Sanguinetti revealed himself
and the true nature of the document.
Students at Hamburg University in the late sixties knew that,
despite so-called 'denazification', many of their professors
still held Nazi sympathies. During a traditional ceremony in
November, 1 967, a large group of students stood and scoffed
and laughed at the participants. Eventually one professor,
purple with rage, screamed at the students, "You should be
in a concentration camp!"
Jerry Rubin .1 970 .
"Supposing one day trucks travelled through the city
announcing, "The war in Vietnam is over! The war is over!
Turn on your radio for further information." Within two
minutes everybody would be calling their mothers, "Hey, Mom!
The war's over!"
Nixon would have to go on T.V. to reassure the American
people that the war was still on."
During the May uprising in Paris in 1968 students and young
workers occupied the Sorbonne and the Odeon and barricaded
the surrounding streets against the paramilitary CRS. The
official Communist Party was less than impressed. When the
slogan "Jsver Work" appeared on the facade of the Sorbonne
the Communist Party daily newspaper 'L'Humanite' bemoaned the
defacement of the building and wondered how such views could
have so easily won over 16,000 students.
The sorbonne set up an occupation committee and its presses
flooded Paris with revolutionary posters and leaflets. The
Odeon was the venue of a non-stop discussion. When the CRS
used CS gas and riot batons in an attempt to clear the streets
and occupied buildings the students and young workers fought
back with cobblestones and petrol bombs.
The Communist Party General Secretary George Marchais said
that the activities of the students had no revolutionary
validity. The students were not members of the Communist
Party and, Marchais told 'L'Humanite', the Communist Party is
"the only revolutionary party".
A POLICY of con-
tainment in Ulster
was the “passport to
failure,” said former
NATO chief General
Sir Walter Walker
when he spoke to the
Surrey branch of The
Monday Club, at
Hall on Thursday.
“The key to success is clear -
hold and dominate,” he
The general called for a
“citizen army” equipped with
miniature neutron bombs the
size of cricket balls to protect
Britain from the advance of
He said that the bombs
“miniature battlefield H-
bombs” - were the most
powerful deterrent today.
They could kill by lethal
gamma rays and not by blast
and fire. They released-up to 80
per cent of their total power as
an intense burst of nuclear
particles and gamma rays so
penetrating that they could kill
soldiers even in heavy tanks.
11th Feb.. 1977
Shortly before the official launch of the Social Democratic
Party a meeting was organized to form a branch of the new
SDP in Kent* The meeting attracted support from all sorts of
organizations including the ultra-right wing Freedom Assoc-
iation. Alas, when the good people of Kent arrived at the
hall they found out the person organizing the meeting was
"of anarchist persuasion".
YIPPIEI: THINGS TO DO ON ERECTION DAY
1) Vote. Bring some spare underwear with you, preferably that
of the opposite sex, and fling it over the top of the booth while
2) Help others vote. Stand outside the polls silently handing out
sharpened pencils to voters on their way in. If you feel this is insuffi-
ciently militant, hand out kitchen matches. It is best to bring along
both pencils and matches, so your action can shift with your mood.
3) Get out the vote. Volunteer for Election Day precinct work.
Cover a precinct for Nixon. Cover the same precinct for Humphrey
and Wallace. Once they've signed you up for a precinct, they're
counting on YOU to get the vote out there. You may want to do
more than one precinct.
4) Demonstrate. Assemble at 1 pm at Civic Center Plaza. Listen
to rock bands and smoke marijuana. Then move out over the city
in at least three big groups: for fun, go to Montgomery Street for
a giant Monopoly game on the sidewalk; for militancy, go to Presidio
or Hall of Justice for mock trials and such. After dinner, assemble
I at Civic Center Plaza again (7:30 pm) to hear speeches, smoke
more marijuana, and then walk down Market Street to the candidates'
headquarters to join in the victory celebrations. Pigasus (a pig) will
gracefully concede. Humphrey headquarters at 11th and Market,
Nixon headquarters at 1st and Market, both easily recognizable
by their large plate glass windows.
and the elected
Yippie Election Leaflet
Representative Tim Moore sponsored a resolution in the Texas
House of Representatives in Austin, Texas calling on the
House to commend Albert de Salvo for his unselfish service
to M his country, his state and his community".
The resolution stated that f, this compassionate gentleman^
dedication and devotion to his work has enabled the weak
and the lonely throughout the nation to achieve and
maintain a new degree of concern for their future* He has
been officially recognized by the state of Massachusetts
for his noted activities and unconventional techniques
involving population control and applied psychology* "
The resolution was passed unanimously*
Representative Moore then revealed that he had only tabled
the motion to show how the legislature passes bills and
resolutions often without reading them or understanding
what they say*
Albert de Salvo was the Boston Strangler*
IT No. 106
The only safeguard against authority and rigidity
setting in is a playful attitude...
On the street again
Paris, May, 1968: The first non-university territory to be
occupied during the revolt was the Theatre de Prance at
the Odeon. The wardrobe department was raided and dozens
of demonstrators came out to face the CS gas dressed as
centurions, pirates and princesses.
During the 1981 Brixton riots police signalled their
intention to charge one. group of rioters by beating out a
frightening 'heartbeat* rhythm by banging their truncheons
against their riot shields. The rioters responded by
beating their dustbin lids — in a cha-cha rhythm.
During the march on the Pentagon, Yippie children moved
among the military police guarding the building, gaily
unzipping the officers' flies.
On demonstrations groups of
demonstrators with cameras and
tape recorders should surround . 4, boy with purple ha^r
newspaper and television reporters troi Van and asked for two
demanding to know why they are [choc ices.
there, have they been paid to attend, what they expect to
achieve, etc. Every way they turn they should find cameras
pointing at them and microphones thrust before them to
record their every word.
Ginsberg. 1 966
1967: Dutch Provos planned to disrupt the wedding of
Princess Beatrix to ex— Nazi Claus von Amsberg. Leaked Provo
plans included: "during the Psalms the church organ will
emit laughing gas" - "hidden loudspeakers will blare forth
the sound of machine-gun fire - watch the police fire backi"
- "horses bolt at the smell of lion manure. It can be
collected from the zoo and strewn along the procession route.
Oh what fun to see the runaway golden coach, with Beatrix
and Claus desperately clinging on to one another."
The massive police presence, enticed by such plans,
prevented them being put into action. But the Provos didn't
Harry Mulisch wrote in Delta : "Then all at once the
television picture grew hazier and hazier until the whole
screen was white... suddenly the carriage with the newly-
weds emerged from the mist and, when 1 grasped what had
happened, I was overcome with emotion. Other people, with
more guts than me, had brought it off, were throwing smoke
bombs into living rooms all over Europe, the Soviet Union,
United States, Japan, and were being pursued far along the
canals and beaten up in doorways by policemen falling over
each other to get at them. Others were being shoved up
against railings by mounted police, held tight by reins
looped around their necks, and kicked senseless by spurred
On Hallowe'en Eve, 1968, members of WITCH (Women's Inter-
national Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell) haunted the New
York Stock Exchange. The witches, dressed in black fairy-
tale cloaks, claimed they had an appointment with the Chief
Executor of Wall Street - Satan himself. Commissionaires
barred ' ’eir way so they grouped outside the building and
"with closed eyes and lowered heads the women incanted the
Berber Yeall - sacred to Algerian witches - and proclaimed
the coming demise of various stocks. A few hours later
the xarket closed 1.5 points down, and the following day
it dropped five points."
quoted in Playpower
In I960 a series of demonstrations were held in Japan against
the renewal of the Japanese-U.S. security treaty. President
Eisenhower was to make a state visit to promote the pact.
However, on the night of the 19th, June 300,000 Sohyo (trade
union) members and 40,000 militants of the Zengakuren
converged on the Diet (parliament) building in a 'snake dance'
They then held a mass urination on the main steps of the
building. The Japanese government was obliged to ask
Bisenhower to cancel his visit.
Cockburn & Blackburn
Paris, May, 1968: Probably the most gruesome protest against
the Vietnam war was planned by a group of young French
conspirators: The population of Paris was to rise one
Sunday morning to find the Seine running blood red and
dotted with the floating bodies of dead Vietnamese.
The plan never came to fruition; the bodies were no problem,
the deep frozen bodies of dead Asians (who would pass for
Vietnamese) were bought in bulk by the medical school for
training purposes. They were delivered fairly regularly to
the school by refrigerated lorry. Hijacking the lorry would
be no problem; deliveries were made at night and no one
expected such a load to interest hijackers#
The problem came with the red dye. No one had predicted
what a prodigious quantity of dye would be required to colour
such a volume of water# The quantity required was impossibly
large and the plan was scrapped#
"Make the fog flee before you"
January, 1 982. In response to the French Communist Party
newspaper L'Humanite ^ Moscow line on Poland, a group in
Paris produced a fake L'Humanite supplement on the Polish
This unofficial insert was of the same layout and
in the same typeface as the original newspaper# Under a
banner headline of "Smash the counter-revolution in Poland"
it explained difficult concepts such as "war is peace" and
"slavery is freedom". A picture of smiling and joking
Gdansk shipyard workers was captioned "Imperialist agents
disguised as workers"#
"After a meeting of the libertarian
groups in Glasgow, we prepared a
leaflet explaining the facts behind
the treatment the Scottish Daily
Express had given me over the previous
few weeks, citing other cases of
heaverbrook skullduggery, showing what
a bunch of twisters they had as
reporters. With the assistance of
some sympathetic printworkers at the
Express offices in Albion Street, we
. inserted a copy of our leaflet inside
, most of the copies of the morning
edition as it came off the machine to
* be packed. There were a few red faces
the following morning when those
readers opened their papers over their
porridge and read the truth for once.
The Express had to print an apology
the next day for this unwarranted
exercise of free speech, over which
the "Guardian" chortled in two columns."
The Christie File.
TWO weeks ago, a film crew
from the prize-winning Amer-
ican CBS television pro-
gramme “ Sixty minutes **
had the temerity to enter the
former factory behind Zur-
ich’s railway station that has
served as an 41 autonomous
youth centre ” for the last
four months. They were
promptly set on by a gang of
hooded youths, trussed, and
covered with paint.
It emerged later that, so
far from being spontaneous
the youths had carefully
arranged to have a video
company on hand when they
set on the intruders. The re-
sulting film, after some hag-
gling, was sold to CBS for
500 Swiss francs, thus ensur-
ing that the American public
would see the Zurich youths
at their most truculent and,
at the same time, swelling a
kitty that is helpfng to pay
off the fines of hundreds of
youths that have been
charged in the last 15
} months of rioting.
New York: "We'll choose a shop. About twenty of us will go
in, select the stuff we want, hand the cashier a flower and
head for the door."
New York City Yip-pies
Lower East Side: The Black Mask group staged a mill-in at
Macy's during the Christmas rush. Demonstrators flooded
into the store disguised as shoppers, store detectives and
counter assistants. Stoek was either spoiled, stolen, swapped
asmu&d or giver, away. Accomplices ensured that respectable
middle-class shoppers were mistakenly roughed up and
King Mob Echo. London ,
Londons The King Mob group themselves entered Self ridges
store in Oxford Street with one of their number dressed as
Santa Claus. Good old Father Christmas toured the store
giving away free gifts from the stock on display and
wishing everyone a merry Christmas.
Soon afterwards the shoppers were witness to the edifying
spectacle of policemen arresting Father Christmas and
snatching back toys from small children.
In 1964 the San Francisco Diggers opened a Free Shop where
people brought and took what they wanted.
For a short time a similar Free Shop existed in London.
In 1977, Italy saw the formation of a new kind of consumer
affairs group; the "Autoriduttori" (a title that translates
clumsily as the 'autonomous' or 'do-it-yourself ' price-
Their activities include printing their own bus and theatre
tickets and (reduced) electricity bills as well as the mass
ransacking of supermarkets in order to expropriate the
surplus on behalf of themselves (as consumers.)
Toxteth Riots , 1 981
Many people in Lodge Lane were nervous about entering shops
that were being looted. Local youngsters helped out by
bagging up a selection of goods and placing them outside
on the pavement for collection.
A man walking down Lodge Lane asked a passer by for a
cigarette and was given a box of 200.
Paris , cl 970. An exclusive grocery store was the victim of
an organised, mass shoplifting raid. Caviare, foie gras,
truffles and chilled Reisling was then distributed free to
nearby slum dwellers.
A group of activists received information that the auction
sale of two houses owned by Kensington and Chelsea Council
was being rigged - speculators had apparently agreed that
nobody was going to bid above an agreed figure. On the day
of the auction six of the group, respectably dressed, turned
up at Chelsea Town Hall.
The bidding went to £20,000 — believed to be the agreed top
figure - then the group started bidding. Some of the
speculators started bidding against them. Only when the
figure for one house reached £75,000 did the auctioneer
suspect something — then their was pandemonium.
Trains, Buses & Bicycles
During General Franco's rule a group
stopped the Madrid-Barcelona train in a
rural area and before allowing it to
continue, covered the outsides of the
carriages with Anarchist slogans. Thus
decorated the train arrived at the
crowded Barcelona station.
On Merseyside, one Spring night in 1976,
a group of people entered bus depots and
stuck official - looking notices inside
Then there is
another spiffing wheeze cur-
rently being put to the Tube
drivers’ union — that the
drivers simply refuse to stop
at Westminster and St
James’s stations. This would
hurt the MPs, the civil ser-
vants in the Home Office, and
Transport Ministry — and
would make everyone else
February 15 1982
the buses. The notices read: "EXPERIMENTAL
FREE TRAVEL: Due to the sharp rise in administration and
collection costs the Executive are introducing free bus travel
for an experimental period of 14 days. No fares will be collect-
ed on any MPTE services from Monday, 3rd May to Sunday, 16th May
1976." „ ...
1967: Thirty Dutch Provo3 painted their bicycles white and
announced that they belonged to everyone. People were invited
to bring their bicycles to the Spui at midnight on Saturday,
where they would be painted free.
Urged on by insurance companies and manufacturers the police
rounded up and confiscated all white bicycles in Amsterdam -
on the pretext that they might be stolen.
In 1979 the Montreal City authorities turned down a request for
a bicycles-only lane on the grounds that it had no funds
available for the necessary painting of road markings. As a
protest, a group of cyclists painted - overnight - their own
cycle lane on 1*Jr miles of street. The city hired a contractor
to paint over the unofficial paintwork.
During the prolongued strike at Grunwick's, strike-breakers
were moved in to undertake the mainly mail-order film
processing work. In support of the strikers, local postal
workers attempted to suspend deliveries to the factory but,
after a short time, their efforts were defeated by legal
Three months later, postal workers in Sydney, Australia were
surprised to find many sacks of mail - recently unloaded from
a mail ship - contained packets for a firm called Grunwick in
July, 1968s Lisbon bus and train workers were protesting because
the British-owned Lisbon Tramways Company would not give them a
wage rise. They protested by running the services as normal but
staff refused to accept fares. This new kind of transport
strike proved very popular with passengers.
New York City IWW Restaurant workers won some of their demands
- after a failed strike - by giving customers double portions
and making errors (on the low side) when making up bills.
Detroit,! 968: Inspectors at a car factory relieved boredom
by taking their jobs absolutely seriously. They began rejecting
something like three out of every four or five cars under
examination. Some cars were rejected simply because tfcey failed
to turn over quietly enough. Management tried to drop hints
about inspectors being too punctilious (but were naturally
reluctant to state this openly). The inspectors ignored the
hints. Unfailingly they argued back that their interests and
the company's were identical and thus they had a duty to ensure
that only products of the finest quality left their factory.
Thousands of office employees
were forced to leave their buildings
yesterday as police, plagued by
more than 200 bomb threats since a
weekend explosion at Kennedy
International Airport, stepped up
their search for explosive devices
in the New York metropolitan area.
A New York Police Depart-
ment spokesman said that although
no bombs were found yesterday,
the threats, many of them appar-
ently made to lengthen lunch
breaks, continued to pour into
“The number of calls yesterday
and the number today goes up
around noon, and if people leave
early, we seem to get calls from
neighboring buildings.” the spokes-
Stm Francisco (Ojroniclr * Wed., May 20, 1 98 1
Mr. Luigi Angeli, a factory worker from Riva del Garda, has
been given a medical certificate which prescribes total rest
until the year 2030, when he will be 99 years old. During his
national television interview. Dr. Mario Rizzonelli, who wrote
and signed the certificate, said: "Mr. Angeli can live a normal
life but he must not return to work under any circumstances
whatsoever. He is a very sick man." Asked to describe the
nature of Mr. Angeli f s sickness. Dr. Rizzonelli said: " I am
prepared to discuss the subject with the President of Italy or
the chief inspector of Social Security. But I am not willing
to have my recommendation of half a century of absolute repose
questioned in publie." national Press &
"This could be our last chance
to unmake history."
The idea of a foreword to this pamphlet was dropped fairly
early on. However, after collecting and sifting so many items
and writing and talking to contributors, friends and comrades
it became clear that some sort of statement was necessary.
Humour has always played an important part in social education
-not always for the good. Sexist and racist jokes reinforce
stereotypes and keep us apart. Whose propaganda war benefits
if the stereotype Irishman is ’'thick' 1 and always ready for
On the other hand the most powerful symbols and advertisements
can be totally deflated and demystified by someone with a bit
of intelligence and a spray-can or felt-tip marker. (As a
bonus the new message carries with it all the impact and
presentation the medianiks worked so hard to put into the
Dangerous trends in popular humour are soon recuperated;
television political satire which scandalized the establishment
twenty years ago is now presented at peak viewing time as
satirical comedy . It may make us laugh, but it rarely does
more than encourage our cynicism - as Shakespeare observed,
"There is no harm in an allowed Fool". Revolutionary buffoonery
must attempt to jolt people out of customary ways of thinking
Such pranks have nothing to do with practical jokes. Too often
practical jokes are played by the confident and cunning on
the helpful and guiless. The message of practical jokes is
that we should not be trustful of others, nor be too eager
to be of assistance - a profoundly reactionary message.
Revolutionary buffoonery tries to build confidence, not
cynicism; it tries to demystify, not alienate. But most of
all it brings play back into everyday life.
It has always been the aim of jesters, by playing the Fool
themselves, to expose the real fools.
Compiled and edited by Larry Law.
Production by Liz.
Thanks for contributions to Mike, Nick and •Vincennes'.
Printed by Presto Print, Reading.
Published by Spectacular Times, Box 99 » Freedom Press,
84b, Whitechapel High Street, London, El 7QX.